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2021 NFL playoff picture: which teams have reached postseason so far?

Six teams have booked their ticket to the 2021 NFL playoffs, with five of them confirming their postseason spot in Week 16.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 26: William Gholston #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after a sack during the fourth quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

With Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season almost complete - the Miami Dolphins are still to visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday night - six teams have now qualified for the playoffs:


Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

The Kansas City Chiefs’ bid to reach a third consecutive NFL championship game remains on course after the Super Bowl LIV winners swept aside the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-10 on Sunday to clinch the AFC West title and confirm their place in the playoffs. It’s the fifth season in a row that the Chiefs have won their division.

NFC (in seed order)

Green Bay Packers (12-3)

The Green Bay Packers were the first NFL team this season to book their spot in the playoffs. The four-time Super Bowl champions, who last lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2010, have been guaranteed a postseason berth since beating the Baltimore Ravens 31-30 in Week 15. That win also wrapped up their third successive NFC North title.

Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

The Dallas Cowboys, who won the last of their five Super Bowl championships 26 years ago, are into the playoffs for the first time since 2018. The Cowboys’ ticket to the postseason was stamped when the Tennessee Titans’ 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday ensured they could drop no lower than the seventh seed in the NFC.

On Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders’ 17-13 win over the Denver Broncos then confirmed Dallas as the winners of the NFC East before Mike McCarthy’s men took to the field for a 56-14 triumph over the Washington Football Team.

The Cowboys are back in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
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The Cowboys are back in the playoffs for the first time in three years.Richard RodriguezAFP

Los Angeles Rams (11-4)

The Los Angeles Rams secured a playoff place with their 30-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Rams’ fourth victory in a row, combined with the Arizona Cardinals’ defeat to the Indianapolis Colts, left Sean McVay’s top of the NFC West and, with two weeks to go in the regular season, in pole position for a first division title since 2018.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4)

The reigning Super Bowl champions qualified for the playoffs and made sure of their first NFC South championship since 2007 with a 32-6 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. This is the first time the Buccaneers have qualified for the playoffs in consecutive campaigns since their Super Bowl XXXVII victory crowned a four-year run of postseason appearances between 1999 and 2002.

Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

Although Kliff Kingsbury’s men lost 22-16 to the Colts on Sunday, defeats for the 49ers and the Vikings meant the Cardinals are back into the playoffs for the first time since 2015, when they made it to the NFC championship game. Arizona face a battle to win the NFC West title, however, after the Rams leapfrogged them at the top of the division in Week 16.

See also:

Which teams have been eliminated from the playoff race?


Houston Texans, AFC South, 4-11

Jacksonville Jaguars, AFC South, 2-13

New York Jets, AFC East, 4-11


Carolina Panthers, NFC South, 5-10

Chicago Bears, NFC North, 5-10

Detroit Lions, NFC North, 2-12-1

New York Giants, NFC East, 4-11

Seattle Seahawks, NFC West, 5-10

See also:

When are the NFL playoffs?

The 2021 season NFL playoffs get underway with the wild card round on 15,16 and 17 January, before the division round on 22 and 23 January. The two conference championship games will then be played on 30 January, with the winner of each progressing to Super Bowl LVI on 13 February at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.


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